I couldn't help but see this headline in the Daily Telegraph: "Older workers could provide £100bn economic boost, says PwC".
Wow, wouldn't that be nice to have £100,000,000,000 boost to the UK Economy. If you look at PwC's research report you can see that Greece (a country in the news) could probably solve all of its financial problems if it harnessed the resources of its older workers. Err, don't get your hopes up just yet.
The consultancy has a thing called a 'Golden Age Index' that measures how well countries are doing in harnessing the potential of their older workers. The index is a weighted average of seven indicators that reflect the labour market impact of workers aged over 55 in 34 OECD countries, including employment, earnings and training.
If you want to delve into more detail the Golden Age Index combines things like employment rate 55-64 (40%), employment rate 65-69 (20%), gender gap in employment, 55-64, participation in training 55-64 and lots of other stats.
I think the idea of this type of index is very good but it is not possible to make such grandiose conclusions about boosting the economy by astronomical amounts of money because it assumes that there is sufficient employment for all of these older people. A very big assumption.
PwC goes on to say that: Companies would benefit from doing a comprehensive audit of their age profile that covers recruitment, retention, training, reward and performance. Age should be treated as an important element in wider diversity audits.
Again this is all good stuff but it misses out a fundamental point that the workplace that these older people are expected to spend their life is may be totally unsuitable. Just as physiological ageing impacts the customer experience of older consumers it is equally important for the 'worker experience'.
If PwC, or anybody else, would like to know how you can audit the suitability of workplaces for older workers then give me a call.
Image via flickr